New to chickens - They all died the first night!

Todd R

Jun 13, 2017
Hello, I recently decided that I would like to have fresh eggs, so I bought a Red Barn coop, and a 5x10 run used online, and found a guy selling 6, 1 yr old laying Salmon Faverolles. I went to TSC and got Layer feed, and had a 1 gallon water feeder. The guy brought the chickens to me at about 1pm in the afternoon, and temps in the low/mid 90's. I installed a tarp over the 5x10 run, as the seller said that would help them with the heat. He put the chickens in the coop, I filled their feeders, and their water, and all seemed well. I came back to check on the chickens around 9pm, and top off their water feeder, because the seller said that a 1 gallon waterer wont last more than a day. They seemed to be alive and well at 9, and had one egg laying in the run. Topped their water off and went home. Around 1pm the next day, I brought them out a 5 gallon waterer, to find all the chickens dead. The waterer was still 2/3rds full, so I think they died in the middle of the night. There were a few of the small down white feathers in the cage, but no other signs of predators, no blood or injuries. 2 were up in the nesting box, and 4 were laying on the ground in the run. all had wings tight to their bodies, and heads curled under their wing. I have been in contact with the seller, and he is completely stumped as to what could have happened to the birds.

The seller offered to replace them with some younger chickens, but we both would like to figure out what happened to these ones, before killing off anymore of them!

The water is rural water, and I used a mid priced layer feed, so I don't know how in the world they could have ALL died at the same time. Could the heat/stress of being moved done it? I cant find anything that would of poisoned them. The land they are on has been vacant for years, and all Ive done on it since purchasing was mowed. I haven't sprayed with anything.

Please help if you can, I am really disappointed wasting that much money on the chickens and supplies to only have chickens for 1 day!

Thank you for any help you can offer.


6 Years
Jul 19, 2015
North Central Florida

Was the coop used?

Honestly the only thing I can think of is food, water, heat, or something on the ground/soil... a plant or something they ate perhaps.

How big of a tarp? Did it just cover the top of the run? The coop is inside the run (dog kennel I assume)?


Easily distracted by Chickens
5 Years
Jun 3, 2016
Lewiston NY
Wow! bad luck huh? does the nights get cold where your at? the only other things i can think of is food poisoning. I'm very sorrry to hear about your flock :hugs

Todd R

Jun 13, 2017
The top and about halfway down the sides is covered with the tarp. Its a homemade run, about 3 feet tall. The run and the coop were both used. The owners sold their house, and had sold their chickens about 1/2 hour before I picked up the coop.

The Red barn has a door that has been removed, and then the 5x10 run butts up to where the door was, so they can have more room to roam around.

The food was purchased the same day the chickens were delivered. The bag had a tear in it that had been taped up by TSC, but other than that, I cant see the feed being an issue. My 2 dogs, and a 7 week old kitten have been playing in that area for the month and a half that I have owned the property, without any issues. I hear/see pheasant in the area, and other wild birds alive and well in the area.

Temperatures got down into the 70's that night.

Todd R

Jun 13, 2017
I put the birds in the waterway for the coyotes yesterday so I doubt there is much left to test. I didnt know what else to do with them.


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
My guess is that the chickens may have been without water in the extreme heat before the man brought them to you. Some people transport chickens in boxes or overcrowded cages in trucks--that may or may not have been the problem. Some will collect the chickens the night before and place them in crates together without room for water. The poor things may have gone without water for most of the day before he delivered them. I have no way of knowing, but it is a possibility. Moving them is stressful, and 90 plus degree weather is worse. I would scrub and disinfect the new coop with a 10% bleach solution, and wait a few weeks before getting new chicks or pullets. That would give time enough for any carrier diseases to die off. Chicks from a hatchery or feed store are a good way to start out with chickens, and less likely to bring in diseases. Take a look at your coop and run, and provide lots of shade and maximize air circulation inside them. Sorry for your loss.


Jun 10, 2017
Globe arizona
Sorry to hear about your babies passing, probably the stress and heat combination. Before getting anymore I would disinfect the coop with a small amount of bleach mixed with water in a spray bottle. And leave it empty for a few weeks.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom